Zimbabwe booted out of AFCON Qualifiers

Zimbabwe has been booted out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after the government refused to cooperate with FIFA.
Shingi Matibiri, Sports Reporter

Zimbabwe has been booted out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after the government refused to cooperate with FIFA to solve the crisis created by the Sports and Recreation Commission’s interference in the affairs of the Zimbabwe Football Association.

In a statement on Monday night, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said the failure by the Zimbabwe government to heed the FIFA demands to reinstate the Felton Kamambo led ZIFA board has resulted in the continental body disqualifying Zimbabwe from the qualifiers along with Kenya who are in a similar situation.

“As a consequence of having failed to have their suspensions by FIFA set aside, CAF has confirmed that both Kenya and Zimbabwe will not participate in the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 qualifiers,” read part of the CAF statement.

“The qualifiers will kick-off on the first day of June 2022. CAF had included them in the official draw earlier in April 2022 on condition that the suspension must be lifted two weeks before their first match day.

“Kenya and Zimbabwe, suspended for political interference, have not yet met the criteria required by the FIFA Congress as a prerequisite for lifting their suspension. As a result:

“Because of the suspension, the following will apply: The two associations; Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) will be considered losers and eliminated from the competition.

“Groups C and K will be composed only of three teams and the order of the matches will be maintained in accordance with the match schedule that has been communicated to the teams after the draw.

“The first and runner-up teams of those groups will qualify to the final tournament.”

The Sports and Recreation Commission last year suspended the ZIFA board on a litany of allegations that includes abuse of public funds during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign and abuse of female referees but FIFA claimed the SRC’s allegations were not convincing and didn’t warrant suspension.

Seven months down the line after the ZIFA board suspension, the SRC is still to bring evidence on the abused funds with former ZIFA vice president and Vungu legislator Omega Sibanda saying the funds under spotlight were handled by the Fundraising Committee chaired by minister Kazembe Kazembe.

The SRC had a late attempt to hoodwink FIFA this week by lifting the suspension of ZIFA chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse but the move was too little too late as FIFA wanted unconditional return to office of Mamutse and Kamambo and the withdrawal of charges against them.

RosGwen24 News
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